Fall River, Oregon (c) Stephanie Hicks
One of our favorite things to do on a sunny weekend in Central Oregon is to go on an “adventure.” My husband coined the term several years ago, which is now code for exploring one of the many natural wonders in our neck of the woods. Yesterday was family day at Fall River.
We decided to take a leisurely hike along Fall River, which is near Sunriver, Oregon, to get to its headwaters. The trail took us 3/4 of a mile along one of the most clear bodies of water you’ll ever see. Just check out the photo to the left. You can see right through the water as if its glass.
One of the best things about our adventure is that we got to walk for nearly 2 hours, round trip, but it was not strenuous at all. The kids looked for guppies in the crystal clear river, and I snapped pictures to my delight. We spotted animal scat (Matt identified it as deer and elk poop), and talked about the importance of “Leave No Trace.” My kids are masters at green trail use, here.
Family Day at Fall River (c) Stephanie Hicks
While we are not much into fishing, the video below shows that Fall River is a great spot for getting a prize catch. In fact, just a few miles downstream from our hike, we visited a Fish Hatchery in which several species of Rainbow Trout are raised. All along the trail are signs that instruct: fly fishing only. Its a perfect spot for recreational pursuits!
If you want to stay more than a few hours, there are campsites, as well. What a great way to spend the day or a weekend.
With four young children, hiking in Central Oregon needs to be accessible and relatively easy. That’s why our Fall River outing was so perfect. Only 20 miles south of Bend, we turned onto the Cascade Lakes Highway and drove about 10 miles west towards Fall River. Two hours total of walking along the river, jumping over downed trees, gazing at guppies… and fishing one of our kids out of the river (yes, our youngest fell in!), and we had our fill.
An adventure is not completely memorable without some mishaps. The first thing that we should have anticipated was road construction! We sat in our car for nearly 20 minutes, waiting for the pilot car to come back and lead us along the gravelly road. Our second mistake was in not reminding the kids to use the bathroom at the trailhead. With boys, its relatively easy to correct the oversight, but not so much with a 6-year old girl!
Finally, our children got a first-hand lesson regarding the edges of bodies of water. Along Fall River, the grass grows thick and long. My youngest son stepped close, believing that we would find Terra firma. Instead, he tumbled into the shallow waters and sat right down! The quick reaction of my husband pulled him to safety (though he really was not in any imminent danger), and gave us all a hearty laugh!
The crystal clear bottom of Fall River, Oregon (c) Stephanie Hicks
After our adventure at Fall River, we were ready to head home. Instead of circling back on the same roadway on which the construction was ongoing, we decided to continue out to the Cascade Lakes Highway. 10 miles later, we reached the intersection, which announced: 54 miles to Bend! Whoops!
The last hour’s drive home was long and exhausting. It probably didn’t help that we spent nearly 6 hours driving the day before to visit family in the valley near Corvallis. But still, years from now, I won’t remember that last stressful hour heading home. But we will have some wonderful memories of our family day at Fall River….